5 quick tips to overcome stonewalling in relationships

The term “stonewalling” comes from the construction industry, where it refers to building a wall of stone to keep intruders out. In relationships, “stonewalling” is the emotional equivalent of putting up a wall. Relationship researcher and therapist John Gottman, Ph.D., Stonewalling is defined in a discussion or argument: “When the listener withdraws from the interaction, switches off, and shuts himself off from the speaker because he or she feels overwhelmed or physiologically overwhelmed. Figuratively speaking, they build a wall between themselves and their partner.”

dr Gottman found four destructive interaction patterns to which he refers The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which can lead to the breakdown of the relationship and divorce. Stonewalling is one of the four. Criticism, defense and contempt are the other three. To counter stonewalling, consider the following strategies.

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5 tips for dealing with stonewalling

  1. Practice self-compassion. Realize that stonewalling can be extremely frustrating, even annoying. It’s understandable to feel angry, powerless, hurt, panicked, or even desperate for validation or an answer. Honor your feelings and be gentle and kind to yourself because you were provoked in this way. Know that you are not crazy or bad because you have a negative emotional reaction. Focus on taking good care of yourself and practicing self-love and Self-sufficiency.
  2. Choose healthy and adaptive ways to process your feelings. Instead of yelling at the stonewaller or pouring yourself a drink to get yourself out of their frustration, let go of your feelings in a healthy and adaptive way. Go for a run or exercise to relieve stress. Practice mindfulness like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Write in a journal or create a work of art. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist and ask about it support you need and deserve.
  3. Practice healthy distance. When someone shuts down and refuses to communicate, it often provokes the other person to up the ante to try to get a response (by raising your voice, making aggressive or passive-aggressive statements, or using non-verbal communication like slamming doors). Instead of poking the bear, release your horns or let go of your end of the tug of war. This gives you both time and space to calm down and regroup before trying to open the lines of communication.
  4. Write them a letter. Try to communicate with them in writing, but avoid text bombs or angry emails. Sit down and express your thoughts in an emotionally intelligent letter. Set an intent for the letter, such as B. restoring lines of communication or clearing up misunderstandings or taking responsibility and an apology for your part. Talk about yourself and how you’re feeling using “I” statements instead of “you” statements, which can create defensiveness. Be the bigger person and delete anything you’ve written that isn’t kind, necessary, or true. Ask them to respond with a letter or let you know when they’re ready to talk about it.
  5. practice empathy. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they might be feeling. They may be experiencing shame, pain, or anger that may be rooted in past life experiences but triggered in your relationship. Think about how your words or actions might have made them feel. Let them know you understand how they’re feeling by making statements like, “I realize you’re upset and maybe hurt and angry that I didn’t remember our plans for tonight.” Sorry yourself and make amends when necessary, but only if you actually did something wrong (otherwise you would let the block control you and take on more responsibility than you can handle yourself). Realize that they may not have great communication or conflict resolution skills and that this has nothing to do with you – maybe it has to do with bad parenting or lack of parenting emotional support grow up.

In total

stone walls is about refusing to communicate or cooperate. It can be passive-aggressive behavior or a way to protect yourself from emotional pain. When someone is stonewalling, they may not answer questions, avoid eye contact, and refuse to talk about what you’re talking about. This can be frustrating as you may feel ignored or left out. When blockages become a pattern in your relationship, it can be damaging and lead to resentment and distrust. When you apply these five tips, expect to connect better emotionally with your partner and have more meaningful conversations.

Find support
You can also consider individuals or couples therapy to get support and improve your communication and conflict resolution skills. You may also consider working on a self-help mental fitness program improve emotional intelligence skills such as presence, self-love, compassion, resilience, ask for supportand more.

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